From Generation to Generation: Aidan’s Great-Great Aunt Rochel


Grandmother Diaries

Three year old Aidan and his great-great-aunt do not concentrate on the past or the future. They both savor the present moment.

Aunt Rochel first held and spoke to  him when he was 1- day old.  Now, he converses with her in his 3-year-old way. “Sit here in this chair, and I will sit here,” he says.

Aidan doesn’t know that Aunt Rochel always had specific seating arrangements when our little family celebrated countless Shabbat and holiday dinners at her home.

Today was the first day the Jewish New Year, 5777.  She went to the temple service, and stood up for all the prayers.  She could very well have sat them out, but she refused.

“Why, I have no trouble standing, it’s just walking that’s a problem,” she says. Her balance is a bit compromised, so she uses a walker.

After services, my husband decided to take some pictures of…

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Ghosts linger around my Passover table 


The Passover of 2016 was tinged with sadness because I couldn’t help thinking of my childhood.  My parents and grandparents faded from sight; one right after the other, mostly without warning.

Grandma was a small, stout lady, with a face that I can’t really ever forget because I look so much like her, especially in my 66th year. My grandfather, was short in stature, but high on everyone’s respect list. He had a head full of beautiful white hair.

I remember going along with my tall, handsome, adored daddy to pick them up at their apartment. My grandmother would have her coat on, and announce to my grandfather that “the machine is outside, and it was time to go.” Why she didn’t just refer to it as the car was a mystery to me. I do remember she wore red old-fashioned shoes, a longish skirt, and a long sleeve blouse. She always carried a  black purse that held Dentyne gum. She would offer this special treat randomly to all her grandchildren.

We’d arrive at my house where we ate the standard dinner we always ate at holidays, it didn’t really matter which one. Mom was in charge and she didn’t appreciate any help.

There was always chopped liver and matzah ball soup, my mother’s tie to her ethnic background. We’d all gathered around  the kitchen table, my grandparents sitting next to each other on one side, my mother, wearing her blue apron, always up during the meal serving us.  My father and

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house,

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

two sisters and I would take our familiar seats. It was usually turkey, sometimes a roast, salad, sweet potatoes, and a vegetable.

The Seder I remember was not too formal. I do remember my grandfather singing some prayers. He had a beautiful voice that I can almost hear when I close my eyes and concentrate.

Little did I know that one day my grandparents and parents would be long gone, but their presence would always linger; they’re always around me, like a loving purple aura.

This year I particularly missed them all, but I’m grateful for the love that is still there.

 

The baby is 9 months today


Only 3 more months until he’s not a baby anymore! He is still happy, and knows us when we come in the door.

His Dad’s birthday is tomorrow, so we got to watch him while they went out to dinner.

My daughter got dressed up in a pretty blue dress. She wore her high heels, and she looked as pretty as her dress. ( I had a flashback to me and my high heels and long legs. Oh well, nothing lasts forever.)

The baby was pretty happy on the floor looking at his toys. He scoots around and goes after what he wants. No real crawling yet. I’m trying to remember when my children crawled, but I haven’t a clue. I think he’s right on schedule .

I did tell my grandson “Prince George took his first crawl last week, and he’s a month younger than you.” He didn’t seem to care.

He got tired during his nightly beverage and fell asleep on my shoulder. I know my days like this are really numbered. There is nothing sweeter than a little warm human baby snuggling on your shoulder. It really makes me feel needed. Don’t we all like to feel this way?

It’s funny, with your own kids you can’t wait for them to get a little older and independent. (Especially when you have 3 in 5 years.) With this child, I am savoring every minute.

I guess that’s another difference between parenting and grandparenting.

Becoming a granny


DSCN3763It finally happened. After waiting and worrying for months my grandson finally arrived on June 28. Reading my thoughts before his arrival was a bit funny. I wondered what he was going to look like, and if he would come out all right.

He came out just fine. It wasn’t the easiest birth for my daughter, but she made it through with flying colors. His physical looks aren’t much of a surprise because he is the spitting image of my daughter. Okay, he is a boy.  He has the same blue eyes she was born with, and the same cute face. His handsome dad is in there somewhere too.

I saw him right after his birth, and he was looking a little bewildered. I guess we all are when we come into the world for the first time. It was touching watching my daughter and son-in-law’s faces as they looked at their child that first day. Pure love, and in 7 weeks they’ve both turned into great parents.

Me, a grandma? My husband, a grandpa?

At first, I nervously held him. (After all, my youngest adult child is going to be 32 years old.) Now, I’m not afraid; it all came back. Especially that aroma when the child has done his business.

I couldn’t wait to cuddle that little baby and sing to him. He responds too. I love it when he falls asleep on my shoulder while I’m holding him. There’s nothing like it.

My husband is holding him the way he used to hold all three of our kids when they were little.  He sits him up in a funny way, and he talks to him. The child seems to be listening to him too.

My husband and I got into the same talking pattern, and saying the same silly things to the baby. For a moment, we could pretend we were young again, but only for a moment.

I am looking at this from a different perspective. I swear I don’t remember how much time my infants spent sleeping. I guess I was so busy that I didn’t notice how much time it took for them to grow and develop. It’s always a relief when they are sound asleep.

Right now, he’s at the stage where he’s fascinated with staring at light, and he is becoming  a little more engaged. He is even starting to smile.

He is different from my kids because he took his “binky.” That’s what they’re calling pacifiers these days.  My children just spit theirs out. I guess I didn’t have the patience for it. Besides in the olden days our kids slept with blankets. Now, they put them in some kind of swaddling thing.  They also put them on their backs. It’s a good thing because it cuts down on sudden infant death.

This child is very lucky. He’s wanted on both sides of his family. Everyone adores and loves him. That’s how it should be for every newborn. It seems unfair that everyone is not wanted and loved from the first second of life.

So, at seven weeks that’s where I’m at. There’s just something wonderful about a new innocent life. I feel very fortunate that I got to experience it again. I think I’m going to like this granny stuff.